Remember the last time someone displayed a generous act of kindness towards you which left you with a sense of gratitude? Or even the time when you were kind to someone and felt absolute happiness? The power of altruism extends not just to the person receiving it but also the person performing the act. Charles Darwin, (the proponent of survival of fittest) believed that humans were profoundly caring and had an instinct for sympathy and kindness. However, in a fast-paced, capitalistic world, we have slowly begun to show apathy and disregard for kindness. With an aim to uphold the science of kindness as a virtue and highlight its importance, 17th February is commemorated as Random Acts of Kindness Day annually.
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What Is Random Acts Of Kindness Day?
Random Acts of Kindness Day celebrated on 17th February, upholds the tradition of celebrating kindness. This day’s idea is rooted in the belief that small acts of kindness can change people’s lives and encourage everyone to make kindness the norm. Random Acts of Kindness Day was first conceived in 1995 in Denver, Colorado and spread to New Zealand 9 years later.
The first National Random Acts of Kindness Day was commemorated in New Zealand by Josh de Jong. Random acts of kindness could be something as simple as complementing a person,sharing food with your colleagues, checking up on your friends etc. The idea is to help make the world a kinder place by promoting radical kindness. RAK Day is celebrated on different days in different places.
For example, New Zealand celebrates National Random Acts of Kindness Day on 1st September annually. This year, Random Acts of Kindness week will be observed from 14th to 20th February. The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation takes the initiative of celebrating this day and week every year.
More About Random Acts Of Kindness Foundation (RAKF)
Founded in 1995, Random Acts of Kindness Foundation is a non-profit organization that strives to bring more kindness in the world and invests all its resources for the sole purpose of “making kindness the norm.” The belief that the whole of humanity is connected through kindness is the bedrock of this organization. All the organisation’s initiatives are guided by the framework of INSPIRE -> EMPOWER -> ACT -> REFLECT -> SHARE.
This organization apart from celebrating Random Acts Of Kindness Day, helps young children develop social and emotional skills by providing them with an evidence-based ‘Kindness in classroom curriculum’. Additionally, the ‘’Workplace Kindness Calendar” aims to help change the workplace culture that is built on kindness. RAKF gives people an opportunity to be RAKtivists or Random Acts of Kindness Foundation activities by registering in the site. By doing so the organization provides a platform for RAKtivists (or kindness ambassadors) to come together and form a global community.
How To Celebrate?
What makes Random Acts of Kindness Day so special is the random probability of the acts – people getting it when they are least expecting. One needs no occasion to be kind as kindness should be incorporated in our daily life. But here are some ways you can participate in the celebration and make someone’s day better. They are mentioned below.
- Complement 3 of your friends or send them a sweet handwritten note appreciating them.
- Buying a meal for a homeless man.
- Donate clothes/money/food in orphanages.
- Saying good morning or engaging in small talk with the watchman/security guard or people who are least expecting compassionate gestures.
- Donate blood in blood banks.
- Visit an old age home and interact with the elderly.
- Buy chocolates for kids playing in the garden.
- Offer a generous tip to the wait when you visit a restaurent.
- Resist your urge to post snarky/mean comments on social media no matter how tempting.
- Enlist activities you do on a daily basis and add an element of kindness in everything you do.
The Benefits Of Kindness
If you wish to celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day, you must know the various benefits of kindness. Kindness is not a one-way street. There are a multitude of benefits that a person can enjoy by embracing kindness. Some of them are:
- The hormone rush – As per Natalie Angier, a New York Times columnist participating in kindness increases oxytocin production, which aids in improving one’s heart health. It also helps in lowering one’s blood pressure and boosting self-esteem.
- Need energy? – As per the research conducted in UC Berkeley, Greater Good Science Centre, about half the participants reported feeling more energetic, less depressed and calmer after helping others.
- As per another research conducted in Harvard Business School Survey of happiness, people who engage in altruistic behaviour were happier overall.
- The helper’s – high – According to research from Emory University, when a person engages in kindness, the brain rewards centres light up as though we were the recipient of the good deed and not the giver. This phenomenon is called helpers high.
- The secret to longevity – As per Christine Carter, the author of the book “Raising Happiness; In Pursuit of Joyful Kids and Happier Parents” there is a 44% lower likelihood of dying early and twice as likely of being protected against heart diseases. Additionally, kindness also improves overall health.
No doubt kindness is the need of the hour. With more competition, more power and more disagreements comes the responsibility of being kind. You don’t have to go out of your way to be kind, sometimes, just smiling at someone is being kind. Look for the smaller things in life, which have a bigger meaning attached to them, and you will see that random acts of kindness can be done every day! This was all about the Random Acts Of Kindness Day. For more such entertaining and knowledgeable content, stay tuned to Leverage Edu. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Quora.